And I'm back in the game ( Kinda )
Well to be honest, I'm not sure I was ever really in it. Or was I?
The Art world, is such a fickle place. I've never been sure if I'm on the team or not. For years I sat in the grandstand, watching, admiring and cheering others along with their creative endeavours. Being an arm chair spectator suits me just fine, playing and participating was never my strong suit and well, as for being a cheer leader, that too was done from the comfort of home ( this old body of mine doesn't stand a chance with star jumps and pom pom's ). Thankfully social media makes it easy for everyone to be a virtual cheerleader in 2021 for every creative out there.
As a grandstand spectator I took my time learning, deep diving into all things art and creative. Training hard. Taking time to exercise my creative talents, working out as often as I could with them, the slow marathon or long game approach if you will. Slowly but surely, I moved my tired body down from the grandstands and I guess to the bench on the sidelines. I was ready to try a push a little bit further, a tad harder...I certainly didn't feel match fit yet.
Close enough to feel all the feels, close enough to smell the power of art but, far enough away to keep it to myself. The bench suits me just fine, its served its purpose for a long time. It's a safe space, knowing the art world is just an arms reach away, close enough to touch. When your art and creativity is your therapy, your world, your everything you become very protective of it. I assume the same way an athelete protects and shields their body from injury, many of us protect our creative and hide it from others, the world...even our selves sometimes.
So what keeps me and so many creatives on the bench? Is it the fear of not making a sale? Not placing first in an art show? Not getting enough likes on the socials? ALL OF THE ABOVE and about a thousand more reasons I'm sure. I guess like Atheletes we Artists have a fear of injury only in our case its likely to be our ego, a deep sickening feeling of not being good enough to win/place and a dread that we simply aren't good enough to do it. That is what keeps many of us on the bench, and if I'm honest that bench can get pretty comfortable and I'm ok with that.
While I can draw quite a few parallels between Artists & Athletics, one of the most obvious similarities are the old sayings "No risk, No reward"& " Work Hard, Play Hard ". If you don't train, you cant run. It you don't try, you'll never know. Whether its a marathon or a 30 art challenge, you just have to try don't you?. Taking that risk to mix those two colours. Using those pastels to make that mark. These are all risks, some of which pay off, others which don't. Athelete's train for hours and hours each day and week, although we may not see it as training, all those colourful risk taking plays are creative training. Getting us game day fit for the finale.
And that finale, grand final or gold medal race is getting our art into the world. For me, its a step up off the bench and into the game, wobbly legs and nerves and all. A few minutes on the court, every so often is a monumental achievement. Entering an art prize, approaching a shop with my wares, partaking in group exhibitions, this is how I stopped being a spectator and started being a player. The art game is a marathon, not a sprint. Which is a good thing, cos there is no way I'm running anywhere. Slow and steady wins the race.
But of course all this sport talk, has probably lost a few of you. But bare with me, I'm almost done.
What is it that we are trying to win? What is that race, that gold medal moment. What are we working towards? Those late night creative bursts with the paint brush, the hours spent scribbling away in sketchbooks, for what? The self doubt, the self loathing the fear. Whats it all for?
When I sat down and asked myself why do I it, what am I training for, it's simple. Art is my Therapy, it heals me and I want to share that with the world. Not necessarily the finished masterpiece, but the process. So, I push, I train, I exercise (all creativity, as I'm certainly no athlete) and I get up off that bench and join a game. My gold medal will come, if I can help just one person heal through art.
I might not always find the right game, but its participation that matters.
Now before I go, I just wanted to add that none of this is possible without cheerleaders and coaches. Behind every athlete there is an army of people who have their back and artists are no different. From the art supply shop, express posting your order. The best friend who shares and likes every post. The family and strangers who encourage & invest in you every step of the way, even when you are injured. These people, this community means everything to us/me. Never stop cheering.
While I'll not always be in the studio or on the court, I will always be cheering from the grandstands for my fellow creatives. So for now I'll buzz the final siren on this post, Thanks for casting your eyes over this & for being my cheerleader x
Now to find the right game for me. Maybe I'll start my own?
P.S I've got a full fixture of games on at the moment if you will. Your girl has stretched pretty far and is playing in not 1 but 3 Art Exhibitions around Melbourne. if your someone currently looking to get out of that grandstand, start with emerging yourself in the cheerleading world and check out some art shows. Links below if you are feeling creative.
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